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2012 Archives http://www.dbacksvenom.com/table/2012-articles/may/ Sat, 25 Oct 2014 19:39:57 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb 2012 Diamondbacks Draft Preview http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/2012-diamondbacks-draft-preview.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/2012-diamondbacks-draft-preview.html The 2011 draft was a very exciting one for the Diamondbacks, since the team had two picks in the Top 7, which turned into pitchers Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley. 2012 will probably not be as interesting, since the club does not pick for the first time until Pick #26, and not for the second time until Pick #90. Monday's Draft also will be the first conducted under the new collective bargaining agreement, which places an effective cap on bonuses offered to draft picks.  For their first ten picks, the Diamondbacks can spend a total of $3.818M, much less than than the $11.16M the team spent in 2011 on its Top 10. In fact, the Diamondbacks spent more each on just Bradley ($5M) and Bauer ($3.4M) than they can this year. So there will be no chance of going way over-slot to draft a "hard-to-sign" player.

So what kind of player will the Diamondbacks be looking for in the June 4 draft? The team certainly has a lot of minor league pitching depth, and an overall shortage of talent among position players, especially at catcher. But it is generally a mistake to draft for need in the MLB draft - getting the best player available is usually a better strategy, given the long development time and low success rates of drafted players. It's always tough to project a pick all the way at #26, because so many teams will have a chance to take all of the players listed below. Plus, if any of the currently projected top players slips, the Diamondbacks might end up getting a much better player than predicted. Given all of these limitations, here are a dozen players that the Diamondbacks might be looking at (with rankings from Baseball America, ESPN, and Baseball Prospectus).

Stryker Trahan, C/OF Acadiana HS, Louisiana (BA #27, ESPN #24, BP #31)
Trahan is the Diamondbacks' pick in Baseball America's latest Mock Draft. 6-1, 220 lbs, Trahan is a very good athlete who also started at QB for his high school team. He throws well, but there are questions about his receiving ability, which may move him to RF. He has good power and surprising speed, and his offensive tools are expected to be good enough for a corner outfield spot. Would be an outstanding pick if he can stick at Catcher. Committed to the University of Mississippi.

Nick Travieso, RHP, Archbishop McCarthy, Florida (BA #40, ESPN #33, BP #31-40)
Travieso is the Diamondbacks' selection in Keith Law's Mock Draft for ESPN. He's played for some of the top high schools (American Heritage and Archbishop McCarthy) in the country, and as a result, found himself needed only as a reliever until this season. He throws his fastball consistently in the 92-95 mph range, and has reached as high as 98. Travieso also has a hard slider and is working on a changeup.  He's been moving up draft boards since his stuff seems to have improved significantly during the season.

Tyler Naquin, OF, Texas A&M (BA #25, ESPN #42)
Naquin is one of the best pure college hitters in the draft, leading the Big XII in batting average for the last two seasons. Naquin also has the best throwing arm of any college outfielder, and also has good spped, going 21 for 26 in stolen bases. But there are questions about his power, as he has only 3 HR and 24 extra base hits in 229 ABs this season. Some scouts are afraid he is a tweener - not good enough speed for CF, but not enough power for a corner OF.

Addison Russell, SS, Pace HS, Florida (BA #28, ESPN #19, BP #16)
Russell has excellent bat speed, good range at SS, and an above-average arm. Scouts initially were projecting him as a 3B, but he lost 20 lbs in his senior year and now looks like he could stick at SS. He should have plenty of power for a SS, although the strikeouts may always be high. Russell has some serious star potential, and has signed with Scott Boras. Committed to Auburn.

Victor Roache, OF Georgia Southern (BA #22, ESPN #89)
Roache had a tremendous power season for Georgia Southern as a sophomore in 2011, blasting 30 HR in 62 Games while batting .326. Unfortunately in 2012, Roache broke his wrist in February, and only played in 6 Games this year, hitting two home runs. Scouts were hoping he could come back for the NCAA postseason, but that didn't happen, so there is a lot of uncertainty about whether Roache is completely healthy. Before the injury, he was considered a possible Top 10 pick.

Hunter Virant, LHP, Camarillo HS, California (BA #53, ESPN #26)
Virant is a projectable left hander who already throws in the low 90s with good location. He has a good downward angle on his pitches, and throws a solid changeup and a decent slider. Some see him as similar to fellow Californian high schooler Tyler Skaggs. Committed to UCLA.

Pierce Johnson, RHP, Missouri State (BA #32, ESPN #59)
Johnson's fastball sits in the 92-93 mph range and can reach 96. He throws a power curveball in the low 80s, along with a changeup and a slider. Johnson struck out 112 batters in 91.2 IP in 2012, for a rate of 12.2K/9, while walking only 26 (2.55 BB/9). There are injury concerns with Johnson - he missed some starts with a forearm strain this spring, and many scouts are not crazy about his delivery.

Ty Buttrey, RHP, Providence HS, North Carolina (BA #38, ESPN #34)
Buttrey is a tall, projectable right-hander at 6-5, 205. He was throwing as high as 96 mph in the early spring, but settled into the 90-93 range for most of the season. His curve/knuckle-curve and change-up give him the potential for three plus pitches. Buttrey turned 19 at the end of March, so he is one of the older prep prospects. Committed to Arkanasas.

Clint Coulter, C Union HS, Washington (BA #48, ESPN #35, BP #29)
Coulter is a strong 6-3, 200 lbs and was a state champion wrestler. His bat looks solid, with both contact and power, but there are questions about his defensive ability and agility behind the plate. If he can't stay at catcher, his bat may be good enough to move to 1B. If he can stay at Catcher, he has a very high ceiling. He's often compared to Mike Napoli, and is committed to Arizona State. 

Tanner Rahier, SS Palm Desert HS California (BA #34, ESPN #31, BP #24)
Rahier has been moving up draft boards after some impressive private workouts. He didn't play high school baseball for the last two seasons, playing instead for a club team in a wood bat league. He's one of the more polished prep hitters in the draft, with a good approach and bat speed, but he may need to develop more power. Defensively, he has a strong arm, but may not have the range to stick at SS. But he could be a plus defender at 3B or 2B if he needs to switch positions. He's often compared to the Rays' Evan Longoria. Committed to the University of San Diego.

Joey Gallo, 3B/RHP, Bishop Gorman HS, Nevada (BA #33, ESPN #23, BP #27)
At 6-5, 205, Gallo has tremendous power, hitting over 60 home runs in his high school career, and he had the 10th longest home run in Petco Park history while playing in an All-Star game there. But he also swings and misses a lot, and he doesn't have much range at 3B. He throws in the mid-90s as a pitcher, but has said that he prefers to be a position player.

Stephen Piscotty, OF/3B, Stanford (BA #26, ESPN #15, BP #22) 
Piscotty won the batting title in the Cape Cod league last summer, and hit .312/.405/.460 for Stanford this season.  He needs to show more power, but many feel that he will once he leaves the Stanford program. He's a good athlete with a strong arm, but he did make 11 errors this year, so he may be moved from 3B to a corner OF position.

Others who the Diamondbacks could take, but who probably won't last until Pick #26:
OF Byron Buxton (Appling County HS, Ga.), RHP Mark Appel (Stanford), RHP Kyle Zimmer (San Francisco), C Michael Zunino (Florida), SS Carlos Correa (Puerto Rico), RHP Kevin Gaussman (LSU), OF Albert Almora (Mater Academy, Fla), RHP Lucas Giolito (Harvard Westlake HS, Cal.), LHP Max Fried (Harvard Westlake HS, Cal.), SS Deven Marrero (Arizona State), RHP Marcus Stroman (Duke), RHP Michael Wacha (Texas A&M), OF David Dahl (Oak Mountain HS, Ala.), RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (Jesuit HS, Fla), SS Gavin Cecchini (Barbe HS, La.), OF Courtney Hawkins (Carroll HS, Tex.), 3B Corey Seager (NW Cabarrus HS, NC), LHP Andrew Heaney (Okla St.), RHP Chris Stratton (Miss. St.), OF D.J. Davis (Stone HS, Miss.), 3B Richie Schafer (Clemson), RHP Ty Hensley (Santa Fe HS, Okla.), LHP Matt Smoral (Solon HS, Ohio), RHP Zach Eflin (Hagerty HS, Fla.)

Here is a summary of the Diamondbacks' first ten picks in Monday's draft. The team's pick value is ranked 28th out of 30 teams.

Pick Number Pick Value
1 26 $1.7M
2 90 $540K
3 120 $393K
4 153 $286K
5 183 $214K
6 213 $160K
7 243 $142K
8 273 $133K
9 303 $125K
10 333 $125K
Total $3.818M
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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Fri, 01 Jun 2012 02:06:41 +0000
Diamondbacks Offensive Woes Continue - Where has the team's power gone? http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/diamondbacks-offensive-woes-continue-lack-of-power-hurting-team.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/diamondbacks-offensive-woes-continue-lack-of-power-hurting-team.html The Diamondbacks have had a disappointing month of May, with a 10-17 record heading into Wednesday night's game against Tim Linecum and the Giants. That leaves the team with a 22-28 overall record, and puts the team 10.5 Games Behind the Dodgers. While both the starting pitching (overall 4.38 ERA, 14th out of 16 NL teams) and the bullpen (3.90 ERA, 10th out of 16) have played below expectations, the biggest source of frustration has been the team's offense. The Diamondbacks have scored only 100 runs in 27 games in May, or an average of just 3.85 R/G. They have scored 2 runs or fewer in 5 of the last 9 games, and in 19 games for the year. Only the Padres and Pirates have been held below 2 runs more times in 2012:

Team Games with 2 Runs or Less
Padres 23
Pirates 23
Diamondbacks 19
Cubs 18
Phillies 18
Braves 17
Marlins 16
Nationals 16
Reds 16
Astros 15
Giants 15
Brewers 14
Dodgers 13
Rockies 13
Mets 11
Cardinals 10

What's been wrong with the offense? The biggest problem has been the lack of power. While the Diamondbacks rank 4th in the NL with a .329 OBP, they are only 8th in Home Runs and are 7th in Slugging Percentage. For a team that plays half its games in hitter-friendly Chase Field, that's just not good enough.   For the entire month of May, the Diamondbacks have hit only 16 Home Runs, well below the NL average of 25 per team.

Looking at the players with over 100 plate appearances this year, almost every batter is slugging worse than in 2011. The biggest culprits are the team's #3 and #4 hitters, Miguel Montero and Justin Upton, who have both seen their SLG drop by over .140 this year.

Player 2012 SLG 2011 SLG
Miguel Montero .329 .469
Paul Goldschmidt .407 .474
Aaron Hill .409 .492
Willie Bloomquist .376 .340
Ryan Roberts .331 .427
Jason Kubel .461 .434
Gerardo Parra .393 .427
Justin Upton .388 .529

Upton has shown some improvement recently, slugging .558 over the last two weeks, but Montero has been going in the opposite direction, with just a .301 SLG for May, and only batting .130/.287/.217 over the last two weeks. The only players on the roster with a SLG over .500 are Chris Young (.581 in 82 Plate Appearances), Lyle Overbay (.552 in 70 PA), and surprisingly, John McDonald (.531 in 68 PA).

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Wed, 30 May 2012 20:35:22 +0000
Checking the Progress of the Diamondbacks' Top Prospects http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/checking-the-progress-of-the-diamondbacks-top-prospects.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/checking-the-progress-of-the-diamondbacks-top-prospects.html While the Diamondbacks are off to a slow start at the Major League level, all four Minor League affiliates currently have winning records, and almost all of the organizations' top prospects are off to a good start in 2012. Here is an update on how the Top 16 players from the pre-season Top Prospects list are doing this year.

1. Trevor Bauer, RHP (21)

Team W L ERA WHIP IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Mobile (AA) 7 1 1.68 1.22 48.1 11.2 4.8 0.2
Reno (AAA) 1 0 1.38 0.85 13.0 11.1 4.2 0.7

Bauer had eight strong starts for AA Mobile before being promoted to AAA Reno. There are a lot of positives for Bauer this year - excellent strikeout rates, low ERA, very few home runs. The only negative has been the walk rate, as he has struggled with command of his fastball on occasion. Still, the overall results have been very good. Some interesting quotes from Bauer about his walks and ground ball rates can be found in this interview with Nick Piecoro.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Fri, 25 May 2012 17:41:09 +0000
Justin Upton Leads NL in Strikeouts Looking http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/justin-upton-leads-nl-in-strikeouts-looking.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/justin-upton-leads-nl-in-strikeouts-looking.html Justin Upton got off to a slow start in 2012, as discussed here last week. One area that has been particularly frustrating for Upton and for Diamondbacks fans is that he has struck out looking a league leading 20 times through his first 39 Games.  Upton's overall strikeout rate in 2012 has increased from 18.7% in 2011 up to 23.8% in 2012, but that is actually the same as his career strikeout rate. The difference in 2012 is that is that for his career, about 30% of Upton's strikeouts have been looking, while this year that rate has shot up to 53%.

Upton is tied for 15th in the National League in total strikeouts, but ranks #1 in the NL in strikeouts looking:

Rank Player Looking Strikeouts
1 Justin Upton 20 38
2 Rickie Weeks 19 53
3 Drew Stubbs 17 47
4 Corey Hart 16 47
5 Cameron Maybin 15 37
5 Kirk Nieuwenhuis 15 48
5 Ike Davis 15 39
8 Chase Headley 14 43
8 Jordan Schafer 14 46
10 Miguel Montero 12 39

Among those in the Top 25 in strikeouts, Upton also has the highest percentage of strikeouts looking in the NL. He's one of only two players who are over 40% in strikeouts looking, and the only NL player over 50%.

Rank Player Strikeouts Looking % Looking
1 Justin Upton 38 20 53%
2 Cameron Maybin 37 15 41%
3 Ike Davis 39 15 38%
4 Drew Stubbs 47 17 36%
5 Rickie Weeks 53 19 36%
6 Corey Hart 47 16 34%
7 Chase Headley 43 14 33%
8 Kirk Nieuwenhuis 48 15 31%
9 Miguel Montero 39 12 31%
10 Jordan Schafer 46 14 30%

Looking at Upton's previous stats on strikeouts looking, this rate of 53% is way over his previous numbers:

Year Strikeout Rate % Looking Total K
2007 24.3% 35% 37
2008 29.0% 31% 121
2009 23.3% 26% 137
2010 26.6% 29% 152
2011 18.7% 28% 126
2012 23.8% 53% 38
TOTAL 23.8% 30% 611

Upton has only been swinging at 40.9% of the pitches he has seen this year, down from his career rate of 43.9%, and his high of 46.6% in 2011. He has been unhappy with the umpires' calls of balls and strikes for most of the season, but it is clear that he needs to do a better job of protecting the plate once he gets two strikes.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Mon, 21 May 2012 20:58:40 +0000
Diamondbacks Minor League Promotions - Bauer Impresses in AAA Debut http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/diamondbacks-minor-league-promotions-bauer-impresses-in-aaa-debut.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/diamondbacks-minor-league-promotions-bauer-impresses-in-aaa-debut.html The Diamondbacks promoted Trevor Bauer (age 21) from AA to AAA Reno on Friday, and Bauer was very impressive in his AAA debut. Facing the Oklahoma City Redhawks (Astros), Bauer pitched 8 strong innings, allowing 4 hits and 1 run, while walking just 1 and striking out 11. The 11/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is a very good sign for Bauer, as he had occasionally struggled with his control at Mobile (4.8BB/9). The only run that Bauer allowed came on a solo home run by catcher Landon Powell in the 8th inning. Bauer and the Reno Aces got the 2-1 win when OF Adam Eaton threw out the tying run at the plate, and reliever Jonathan Albaladejo got the final out for his 7th save. Overall, Bauer dominated a strong RedHawks lineup, as the entire starting lineup has Major League experience. including top prospects like OF Fernando Martinez and IF Jimmy Paredes, as well as veteran hitters like Mike Hessman and Scott Moore. Bauer got through 8 innings with 113 pitches, of which 73 were strikes, and had at least one strikeout in 7 of his 8 innings.

Bauer was promoted after eight starts in Mobile, where he had gone 7-1 with a 1.68 ERA and 60K/26BB in 48.1 IP. In his eight starts, he had allowed zero runs in five of them. GM Kevin Towers said that he wanted to put Bauer in an environment where "he probably was facing a little better competition, a little more of a veteran hitter, [and a] smaller ballpark where it's going to be a little more difficult for him." In Reno, Bauer joins former Mobile teammate Charles Brewer (24, 12th Round pick in 2009), who had been promoted from Mobile three weeks earlier.

Moving up to AA to take Bauer's spot was 24-year old RHP Michael Bolsinger. Bolsinger, a 15th Round pick in the 2010 Draft, had pitched well for Class A Visalia, going 3-2 with a 2.37 ERA and an excellent 49K/13BB ratio in 38 IP. Bolsinger had a solid first start for Mobile, allowing just 1 ER in 6.2 IP while striking out 7 and walking 3. Eric Smith (23), a 2nd Round pick in 2009, has also been promoted to Mobile.

RHP Jeffrey Shields (22, 7th Round, 2010) was promoted from Low A South Bend to take the open roster spot for Visalia. Shields had been up and down this season, with an overall record of 0-5 with a 4.05 ERA and 24K/10BB in 46.2 IP. Shields had three outstanding starts in April, where he had allowed only 2 ER over 21 IP, but had followed that up with 17 ER over his next 21 IP, over four starts. Nevertheless, the organization felt that he was the most qualified of the South Bend starters to make the jump to the California League.



 

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Sat, 19 May 2012 03:55:10 +0000
What is Justin Upton Doing Differently in 2012? http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/what-is-justin-upton-doing-differently-in-2012.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/what-is-justin-upton-doing-differently-in-2012.html In 2011, Justin Upton posted career highs in Home Runs, Runs Scored, Runs Batted In, On-Base Percentage, and Stolen Bases. But in 2012, things have started out very slowly for Upton - through the games of May 15, Upton is batting just .227/.319/.336. The biggest surprise has probably been the lack of power, as Upton has only 3 HR and 4 Doubles in his 34 games. One contributing factor has probably been Upton's left thumb injury, which he jammed while breaking up a double play on April 8th, and caused him to miss a handful of games. But in addition to the poor slugging, there are a couple of other numbers that jump out from Upton's stats - his fly ball rate, his strikeouts looking, and his home stats. Upton's hit chart also shows some interesting data. Let's take a closer look at the numbers.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Wed, 16 May 2012 15:37:02 +0000
Evaluating the Diamondbacks after 32 Games http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/evaluating-the-diamondbacks-after-32-games.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/evaluating-the-diamondbacks-after-32-games.html With 32 Games, or about one-fifth of the Major League Baseball season complete, the Diamondbacks are currently on a five game losing streak, putting their overall record at 14-18. One year ago at this time, the D'Backs stood at 15-17, but were about to embark on a 15-3 run that would put them in the thick of the Division race for the rest of the year. Can this year's team also turn things around and catch up with the Dodgers, who at 20-11 are already 6.5 games ahead? Let's take a look at the team's performance to date, with a look at what has gone right (not much) and what has gone wrong with the club so far this season.
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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Thu, 10 May 2012 21:58:33 +0000
Should the Diamondbacks Send A.J. Pollock back to AAA? Is Brent Clevlen a Better Option? http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/possible-replacement-for-aj-pollock-brent-clevlen.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/possible-replacement-for-aj-pollock-brent-clevlen.html When CF Chris Young went on the Disabled List on April 18th, the Diamondbacks recalled OF A.J. Pollock from AAA Reno. But Pollock has really struggled in the Majors, going just 3 for 25 over 11 games, with just one walk and zero extra base hits. Remember that Pollock had played one full season at the AA level followed by just 12 games at AAA, and he appears to be overmatched at the Major League level right now. While he has only struck out four times, he has hit very few balls hard over the last two weeks.

What other options do the Diamondbacks have to play CF besides Gerardo Parra? At AAA Reno, the two centerfielders are Adam Eaton and Evan Frey. Eaton, 23, has played just 15 games in AAA and 67 games in AA. He does have a .439 OBP at AAA, and a career OBP of .455 for his Minor League career. But he has as little experience as Pollock, and may run into similar problems in the Majors. Frey, 26, has a .232/.357/.317 line for Reno, but his low slugging percentage (career .365) probably doesn't suggest success in the Majors. Another AAA option could be Cole Gillespie, but he is hitting only .194/.290/.269 so far this year.

The best option for the Diamondbacks may be 28 year old Brent Clevlen, who was recently signed to AA Mobile. Clevlen has Major League experience, having played 59 games in the Majors with a career line of .234/.280/.429. While the OBP has been low, he has good power and can play all three outfield positions effectively. The same has been true in Mobile this year, as Clevlen is hitting .280/.315/.520 in his first 13 games. As a right-handed batter, he would be a natural platoon partner for Parra in CF. Plus, he may be better suited to a part-time role than Pollock and Eaton, who would be better off playing every day in AAA than getting one or two starts a week in the Majors. And he would provide a power option on the bench, which is something the team is lacking.

We'll see if the Diamondbacks decide to make a move. One problem is that Clevlen is not on the 40-Man roster, although the current roster does not seem to be full (19 Pitchers, 3 Catchers, 9 Infielders, 7 Outfielders = 38 players, plus the recently released Jonathan Albaladejo and Geoff Blum on the 60-Day DL) . If they had to, they could decide to transfer Stephen Drew to the 60-Day DL, which would mean that he could not return to the Majors until early June, or designate someone else for assignment (Yonata Ortega? Cole Gillespie? Sam Demel? Mike Zagurski?). But it doesn't seem necessary right now, if the roster on the Diamondbacks web site is accurate. In any case, it wouldn't be a surprise to see A.J. Pollock sent back to AAA, and someone else given a shot as the 4th outfielder.


 

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Fri, 04 May 2012 04:26:37 +0000
Ranking the Diamondbacks - May 2012 http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/ranking-the-diamondbacks-may-2012.html http://www.dbacksvenom.com/2012-articles/may/ranking-the-diamondbacks-may-2012.html The Diamondbacks completed the month of April 2012 with a decent 12-11 record, despite losing Chris Young and Daniel Hudson to the Disabled List. Even though Young only played in 11 of the team's 23 games, he still leads the team in HR and RBI. The leading pitcher so far has been Joe Saunders, who currently leads all Major League pitchers with a 0.90 ERA. On the other end of the spectrum are pitchers Josh Collmenter, Mike Zagurski, and Joe Paterson, who all have ERAs over 9.00, and five hitters who are still batting below .200 - Ryan Roberts, Paul Goldschmidt, Henry Blanco, A.J. Pollock, and Geoff Blum.

31 Players have played for the Diamondbacks in the month of April. Here are my rankings from #1 to #31.

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amitlal@cox.net (Amit Lal) May Tue, 01 May 2012 20:58:32 +0000